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The Foundation for Design Success

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ComEd’s collaborative value engineering approach on a transmission project resulted in optimization and significant cost savings.

Because of unknown variables and unpredictable challenges associated with building below grade, some level of conservatism is inherent in deep foundation design. This is especially prevalent in electric transmission, where a single alignment might see hundreds of unique construction sites and geotechnical variations. Accounting for the risks associated with these variables leads to conservatism in foundation design, which can be amplified by common industry contracting methods.

An alternative value engineering (VE) approach employed on Commonwealth Edison Co.’s 345 kV Fisk transmission project in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. demonstrates foundation efficiencies can be achieved when stakeholders evaluate risks iteratively and coordinate throughout the design and construction process. Working collaboratively to optimize designs for 10 large-diameter drilled shafts, the project team was able to reduce overall concrete volumes by 16% from the base bid. This reduction positively impacted project cost, schedule and safety.

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